The winter season means a lot of different things depending on where you live: for Californians it can mean a few degrees difference, for Kentucky residents it can mean ice storms, for New Yorkers it can mean rain and snow and for those even more north it can mean seriously deep piles of snow. It seems obvious, therefore, that the perfect winter footwear would need to include both necessary elements based on your location as well as any fashionable elements. In the paragraphs that follow, I’ll let you know the best winter boots for you sorted by those made for mild winter environments to severe ones.
First let’s take a look at temperature. If temps fall below freezing on a regular basis during the winter months, you’d probably be well advised to look for a boot with some kind of insulation. Boots can be filled with down like puffer jackets & coats often are, they can be lined with high-tech waterproof materials designed to keep feet dry and retain body heat, or boots can be lined with fuzzy materials like fur, fleece, shearling and faux versions of each. If the temperature in your area stays above freezing, lucky you! You have your pick of almost any boot out there! But try to stay away from most boots that are lined or filled as they might become too hot and uncomfortable. Many designer fashion boots are made with unlined leather or man-made materials or even a very thin leather lining. There are also a few sheepskin boots, like Uggs, that are lined but claim to keep feet at a comfortable temperature whether outdoors is hot or cold.
Second, almost everyone has to deal with rain in the winter to some degree. If your rain is not all that cold, you may just need a pair of rubber rain boots to get you through the winter. If you don’t think they’ll be warm enough, you can now find rubber rain boots that are lined with some of the materials I listed in the paragraph above. If your rain freezes constantly or you live in an area with ice storms, you’re going to need to look for a waterproof boot with traction. Look for rubber soles that have various raised areas so they are not completely flat on the bottom. If you fall in love with a boot with a completely impractical smooth leather sole, remember that cobblers can often add a rubber pad or re-sole a boot to make them less slippery in winter conditions. Heels should be wedges or non-existent (flat). Wedge heels have a solid surface area touching the ground from toe to heel, which means more of the shoe on the ground to grip than with other types of heels.
The third element to consider is snow conditions. If you live in the snow and will have to walk through it, you’ll need a boot that is tall enough to keep your feet warm and dry even after you sink into the snow piles a few inches (or more). You will probably also want to make sure the boot is flat or has a very low heel to prevent twisted ankles or other injuries. Remember that when snow falls and melts, it becomes wet just like rain, so keep the snow boots waterproof too.
And forth, let’s talk about boot styles. Now I have just mentioned boots above but there are more specific categories to think about: ankle boots, mid-calf boots, knee boots and thigh-high boots. If you have to deal with deep snow, you should probably go for as tall a boot as you feel comfortable with and one that is as tight as possible around your legs; If any snow falls in, your feet will be wet and miserable all day. If you only get a few inches of snow or none at all, you can choose the boot height of your preference and style. Watch out for ankle boots though if you commonly see deep puddles, sometimes even those are not tall enough to keep your feet dry. If you prefer to wear your pants over your boots instead of tucked in, you may also want to make sure the boots are not too tall and poofy or you may spend the rest of the day pulling your pants back down around them. Likewise if you tuck your pants into your boots often, be sure the boots are wide enough to fit everything in.
Now check magazines, websites, trend sheets and your favorite stores for the colors and styles that are popular this winter season and incorporate those into your winter picks too! Color is the easiest way to stay on trend in the winter when you have to consider being outside in the real world, but often things like lace up detail, straps, studs, or even specific brands can become all the rage and add a bit of runway fashion to your everyday boots. Just because you need rugged non-slip soles does not mean you can’t look trendy and fabulous. Happy shopping!